How to Lavish Love on Your Kids (even when you don’t feel like it)

Yesterday I posted this on Facebook. . .

And I meant it. I truly, truly meant it.

Today we had a really tough day. There was whining, crying, disobedience and lots and lots of screaming. Actually, the most screaming. . .ever. After being so overcome with love for my eldest just 24 hours ago, I felt defeated because today I felt such disgust.

As I turned the day’s events within my mind a hundred times, I considered where I could have made the difference between chaos and peace. The more I considered it, the more frustrated I became. . .at my 4 year old. . .for not understanding how to act properly. . .for reacting to her overwhelming emotions. . .for displaying such rage and behaving so badly.

I did a lot of praying in between playing referee with her and ringmaster to the circus that is my 1 year old boy. And as I prayed the words kept coming to my mind.

Lavish the love.

Sure – 24 hours ago I wanted to lay it on thick. My daughter was being an angel and my son took a 3 1/2 hour nap. Yeah, I was in love yesterday. It could have easily been in the top 10 of a mom’s Top 100 Days chart.

Today. . .not so much. But despite my understandable disgust for my child’s behavior, I knew the Lord was calling me to lavish His love upon her. Not my human, conditional, love that has limits. Rather His deep, amazing, unconditional love without limits. The love we get to pull from the reserves when we are all out of love. Yeah, that love.

So I responded gently (even though I wanted to scream). I responded calmly (even though I wanted to pull out my own hair). I held her and kissed her and poured love upon her disobedient, little heart. And she began to soften.

We talked about what she was feeling in her heart and why she acted the way she did. She couldn’t tell me which could have easily frustrated me further. But I simply kept loving on her and gently correcting her.

Pouring love upon our children does not mean we discount their bad behavior. It doesn’t mean we overlook the need for discipline. It does mean that we call upon the grace of God to remain consistent no matter the mood of the day. I admit I have not been good about this. I am very easily swayed in my own mood by my child’s behavior.

But I am listening to the voice of God as He instructs me to love, I mean really love, my children no matter what.

“Love is patient, love is kind. . . .it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. . .It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” I Corinthians 13:4-7

I shared about this last week in a post over at The Pregnancy Companion. I shared that I have realized, Emotional deposits into their account mean less withdrawals from mine. It truly is that simple. Although some days (like today), they begin withdrawing before you ever have the chance to make a deposit. But this doesn’t change the fact that purposing to lavish love on them will change the course of the day.

Here are a few ways I have found that I can lavish love on my children:

1. Get down on their level. Leave the mess in the kitchen, sit on the floor and play a game. When they are upset, stoop down to eye level before you inquire or scold.

2. Kiss them. A lot. For no reason. Chase them around as you try to plant pecks on their head if you have to.

3. Hug them. For a long time. Until they force you to let go.

4. Sit with them and talk or read together. Start a conversation.

5. Linger with them before bed. Lay down face to face and chat about the day. Intimacy is important in the parent/child relationship too.

I definitely do not have this mother love thing figured out. I am learning more and more about how to love my children the way they need to be loved each and every day. But there’s one thing I do know for sure.

I may get overwhelmed. . .I may get frustrated. . .but I am completely and utterly in love with my children.

Even today.

Mamas, what ways have you found to lavish the love on your children?

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    This is such a great post Jessica, and I think every mom needs to hear/be reminded of this stuff! I love this: “It does mean that we call upon the grace of God to remain consistent no matter the mood of the day.” To me that’s the biggest challenge – staying consistent within myself regardless of how “good” or “bad” the day is going. God is always consistent with me in his goodness and kindness and patience, and I so desire to be that kind of parent to my children as well. These littles are the greatest tool of discipleship in my life, that’s for sure.

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